Alibaba has detailed its plans for handling the 2022 Beijing Olympic ticketing, with a digital platform being developed to last for future Games.

Chris Tung, Alibaba Group’s chief marketing officer, told the Insidethegames news website that it was aiming to create “a truly cloud-based Olympic Games, the first ever.”

Alibaba – the Chinese conglomerate which is a Worldwide Olympic Partner – will use its Damai ticketing subsidiary to provide a fully digitally enabled ticketing programme through its agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing 2022 organising committee. Local organising committees have previously run ticketing programmes themselves, although this has often courted controversy.

Olympic officials said the Alibaba deal, which was signed in July, was struck with the objective of securing a single provider to deliver ticketing services and operations over several Games editions, reducing costs and the complexity of hosting the Games in line with Olympic Agenda 2020’s recommendations on efficient turnkey solutions.

Tung said: “From Beijing, all the spectators will be able to buy tickets digitally and redistribute their ticket digitally. The whole ticketing service will be operated in a much more efficient and much more cost-efficient and probably a more profitable way.

“Also through the digital ticketing experience, spectators will be able to get more information and guidance during Games time in terms of how to maximise their time in Beijing.”

Tung added that Alibaba was currently building a “very robust ticketing system” that he claims will be well established to support future Games.

He explained that Alibaba was “building a hub to help manage the creation, allocation (and) the retail sales online of the ticketing system”.

He added: “If there is still a necessary offline distributor that we need to work with, they will be able to work with the system directly. This is positioned to service the mandatory needs of the operation.”

The IOC said a long-term ticketing partner will be beneficial because of continuity of service through the provision of established systems and delivery experience, alleviating the need to design, engineer and deliver a solution for each individual Games edition.

The Olympic Games previously operated under a system whereby the local organising committee bears responsibility for the sale and distribution of tickets, including appointing authorised resellers for specific countries and territories.

It is unclear what Alibaba’s appointment will mean for the future of ATRs.

Image: Jon Wick (Flickr)